OU Foundation Funds Exceed $1 Billion

Monday, January 26th 2009, 10:01 am
By: News On 6

Associated Press

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- The University of Oklahoma Foundation has exceeded $1 billion in assets, despite being hit by a bear market that caused a drop of $52.6 million in investment income last fiscal year.

The foundation received $198 million in financial gifts to push the value of total foundation assets to $1.016 billion at the end of June.

Guy Patton, executive director of the OU Foundation, said donations to pay for scholarships, endowed faculty and other funds remain strong this fiscal year.

"It's challenging, and you would expect a major drop-off in giving, but that hasn't been the case," Patton said. "There hasn't been a drop-off."

In fiscal year 2007, the foundation received $106 million in gifts and finished with $864 million in assets.

Patton said the foundation invests for the long term to withstand economic downturns. Endowment-only assets have doubled from nearly $350 million in 1999 to $693 million in 2008.

"The assets that we principally manage are endowed, so part of the strategy is for withstanding long, difficult periods," Patton said. "It's certainly been challenging, but it's important to keep it in the broader, historical context."

Patton, the foundation's third director since its founding in 1944, said the organization has created a chief investment officer position, changed investment consulting firms and shifted allocations in recent months to improve performance.